The Baden-Württemberg ministry of environment in Germany on 3 February approved power utility EnBW’s plans to decommission and dismantle unit 1 of the Neckarwestheim NPP. The company expects dismantling work to begin in March and to be completed within 10-15 years.
EnBW formally applied for permission to decommission and demolish Neckarwestheim 1 in May 2013. The unit was among the eight oldest German reactors taken out of service on the orders of Chancellor Angela Merkel, days after the Fukushima Daiichi accident in March 2011.
EnBW said it plans to start with the dismantling of the main coolant pipelines in the area of the reactor pressure vessel. Preparations are under way for the subsequent dismantling of installations within the vessel.
EnBW expects dismantling of the nuclear parts of the unit to take about 10-15 years after which it would then be released from atomic law and be considered a conventional industrial plant. A decision would then be taken on the demolition or reuse of the remaining buildings.
Neckarwestheim 1 was shut down in 2011, and unit 2 is scheduled to close in 2022. Unit 1 of the Philippsburg plant was also closed in 2011, with unit 2 expected to operate until the end of 2019. EnBW said it expects to receive a decommissioning and dismantling permit for Philippsburg 1 "in the near future".
In February 2016, EnBW received permits for the construction of decommissioning infrastructure at both Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg. This included residual material treatment centres and interim site-waste storage facilities. Baden-Württemberg environment minister Franz Untersteller said Neckarwestheim 1 is the first reactor in Baden-Württemberg to be dismantled within the framework of the nuclear phase-out decided in 2011.